David Headley, the LeT terrorist, has been awarded 35 years in jail by a US Court on the charges of helping to plot the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He escaped the death penalty in terms of a deal with the US government over which the judge had serious reservations.
Headley had done a plea bargain with the investigators under which he managed to escape the death sentence. The Judge said that it would have been much easier to impose the death penalty, had it been pressed for by the prosecution. But the prosecution stand left many wondering over its reluctance.
Headley was ordered to serve 35 years in jail, followed by a supervised release of 5 years. There is no parole and the convict has to serve at least 85 % of their sentence.
While pleading guilty and testifying at the trial of co-defendant and old friend Tahawwur Rana, Headley admitted that he had been to training camps in Pakistan conducted by the Lashkar—e—Taiba, on five occasions between 2002 and 2005. He has also confessed to many scouting missions for his Pak handlers. He had videographed many Indian targets including the Taj hotel in Mumbai which was attacked by 10 LeT terrorists later.
In late 2005, Headley got orders from the Lashkar to go to India to conduct surveillance, which he did five times leading up to the Mumbai attacks in 2008. The ghastly incident killed approximately 166 people, including 6 Americans, and maimed hundreds.
Earlier, Rana was sent to jail for 14 years, followed by three years of supervised release on the charges of giving material support to LeT and planning attacks against a Copenhagen newspaper.
Headley, born Daood Gilani, had changed his name to easily move in and out of India without raising suspicion.